A series of raids on illegal cannabis grows throughout the Anza Valley led to the seizure of more than 100,000 marijuana plants and nearly five tons of processed product, authorities said Friday.

Confiscation operations were conducted all day Thursday by Riverside County Sheriff’s Department personnel, along with law enforcement officers from multiple municipal agencies, the District Attorney’s Office, the California Highway Patrol, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife and others.

Search warrants were served at a total of 51 residential properties in and around the Anza community, where illegal grows have been in operation for several decades.

According to sheriff’s Sgt. Brad Farwell, during the raids, law enforcement personnel arrested five people, seized 100,343 marijuana plants in various stages of growth and confiscated 9,806 pounds of processed marijuana, 13 firearms and $49,546 in cash.

Most of the cultivation sites were unattended at the time the warrants were served. Investigations were continuing.

The county Board of Supervisors has not approved permits for any outdoor commercial grows, though indoor cultivation and manufacturing operations have been approved by the board in Highgrove, Bermuda Dunes, Lakeland Village and other unincorporated communities.

The county’s 2018 Marijuana Comprehensive Regulatory Framework, codified under Ordinance No. 348, provides for steps that prospective businesses must take to be eligible for permits.

The vetting process includes hearings before the Planning Commission and the board.

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